Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Tuesday called off his visit to South Africa to receive an international award named after Mahatma Gandhi, saying that its government finds it "inconvenient" to issue visa to him and his entourage.
The 76-year-old Dalai Lama was slated to leave for the African nation on Thursday on a nine-day visit, but he has not received his visa yet, the spiritual leader's office said in a statement.
The visa applications for the Dalai Lama and his delegation were submitted to the South African High Commission in August and original passports were submitted on September 20.
"His holiness was to depart for South Africa on October 6 but visas have not been granted yet. We are, therefore, now convinced that for whatever reason or reasons, the South
African government finds it inconvenient to issue visa to His holiness the Dalai Lama," the statement said.
Besides receiving the Mahatma Gandhi international award for peace and reconciliation, he was also scheduled to participate in the 80th birthday celebrations of fellow Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
"His holiness has thus decided to call off his upcoming visit to South Africa. And, he regrets the inconveniences caused to his hosts and the large number of South African public who were keenly waiting to receive him and hear his message," the statement said.
The Dalai Lama travels around the world to promote human values, religious harmony, world peace, and compassion: principles that form the core of his communications and interactions everywhere, it said.
Efforts to reach the South African High Commission failed.